The 2018 midterm elections saw a number of victories for equality and have us at Fairness West Virginia feeling energized.

Fairmont voters made history when they resoundingly approved a Human Rights Ordinance with a resolution supporting LGBTQ nondiscrimination. It was the first time in West Virginia’s history that voters have approved an LGBTQ initiative at the ballot box.

Fairmont City Council approved the ordinance last fall but a signature campaign led by an anti-LGBTQ Charleston activist resulted in the ordinance being placed on the ballot.

When the final vote was counted, 57.86 percent of voters approved the measure.

“We want to recognize the local Fairmont supporters of inclusion who worked tirelessly knocking on doors and educating their neighbors about the need for this ordinance,” said Andrew Schneider, Fairness West Virginia executive director. “This is yet another example of the broad and deep support for an LGBT nondiscrimination state law.”

Julie Chadwell, human rights chair of Marion County Indivisible and a volunteer for the Friends of Human Rights campaign, said much work remains.

“We need to actually form the commission and get the right people appointed,” she said. “Even though this has passed, we still have a lot of educating to do.”

She was happy that voters rejected misinformation used by opponents of the Human Rights Ordinance.

“I think when it came down to it, people were able to use their own common sense,” she said. “All of those scare tactics used by the other side were futile because they simply aren’t true.”

Fairmont is among 15 communities that have taken steps toward inclusivity of LGBTQ residents. Eleven communities have passed ordinances with force of law, and three have passed resolutions similar to Fairmont’s.